Archived Signing expertise desperately needed

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Jun 19, 2011
In the Sales Floor Signing Reference Guide that outlines how to do signing it stated many procedures that are contrary to how we've been doing them at our store for years. The booklet is dated 3/11 so it's possible many things about the ad has changed recently. (It's also very possible we've just been doing things the wrong way for a looong time) Anyway I'm hoping to get some answers on some of the differences since I am now going to be working on the ad set team in a different capacity than normal.

I'll begin with an outline of how the ad is done at my store. We have it done by the overnight crew. We start the takedown at 10pm when the store closes and will immediately start hanging our signs as soon as that is finished. Softlines is taken down by us but hung by the daytime crew that comes in at 6am so those are just separated from the other signs during prep and given to them to sort, scan and hang on their own. We have a team of usually 3 people hanging the 3x5 and 3x2 signs for the aisles and a 4th person going around and doing all the endcap signing and any 7x11s that are in aisles. That's what I will be taking over and what I am unfamiliar with. I did it some when our store recently went through a remodel to add in a Pfresh area but haven't touched it in months and only did it for a short time anyway.

Let me thank you in advance for the patience this post may require and for any and all answers and insights I receive. With that said let's go get me better informed!

Firstly it says to use the Low Price Promise signs as the default in basically all the endcaps where I will be hanging my signs since we have no Savor Spot and I don't hang the Softlines signs. Before I had been told we could use Expect More Pay Less in all of hardlines on the endcaps if the endcap wasn't on sale. I had been told to use the LPP in the same manner with no real distinction between the two. Also I had been told if some of the endcap products were on sale and others weren't I was to create a multi item 7x11 and use a Sale topper and Sale header as long as I had the highest and lowest priced items covered there with a mix that best represented the endcaps product and the sale. Sometimes a very confusing and hard thing to accomplish in only 6 listings. The booklet clearly states "Promotional topper can only be used if all items on 7x11 price point sign are on promotion". Is that new or just something we've done wrong forever?
Next the guide says with select items on promotion you are to sign items on promotion with 3x5 signs. That's the most major change or difference I can see. We are expected to scan every item on every endcap under UPCS to see if it's on sale so we can then add them to a batch to be printed, scanned and hung later? I know some individual signs arrive in the bundles of signs for the store but not nearly enough to cover all that are on sale in the entire store. Especially not when you consider how often our endcaps change and that the sent signs are printed up way in advance. Worst is the signs that go to endcaps they aren't tied to at all. We have an incredible amount of product on endcaps that just had generic labels printed for them so we can put them there, but there's no POG tied to that endcap. What would be the best way to locate those locations quickly at the end of the night when they are all getting scanned in and hung? Create a batch for every endcap when I'm going around scanning them all?
It also says when a 4' endcap is on promotion to use a 3' information flip book and center it. I thought we used to have or still did have 4' information flip books. Am I wrong/confused about that? It was always encouraged/pushed that we shouldn't use 3' headers on 4' endcaps unless you were completely out of 4' headers. Even then most of the time people would end up using a 3' information flip book and then one of the smaller 1' flip books just so no empty space was shown.

One curious thing in the booklet was where it showed a single price point 3' endcap of vacuum cleaners that had the information flip book displaying EMPL instead of LPP. It said earlier that LPP wasn't to be used in A&A, Savor Spot and sidecaps. Does that imply those are the only areas it's not to be used or there are more? Or does it mean that EMPL and LPP can both be used in the same sections of the store on non promotional end caps and if so how do I know when EMPL is expected? Really confused here if you can't gather.

In the specialty fixtures part of the booklet it shows the glass shelves we now have on a few of our cosmetics endcaps. Currently our labels are underneath the glass shelf several inches further back from the edge of the shelf in a dark grey plastic label strip. The strip holder is basically a piece of plastic folded in half stickied to the endcap. It's so thick and pushed back you can't see the prices even if you hunch down and know where to look. The labels are attached to this ugly holder like stickers themselves on the inside. In the book it has them attached with 1x3' label holders, that look like the ones on peg locations, if the shelf has multiple price points and a 3x5 label holder if the shelf is all the same price point. Which exact fixtures should we be using and is there a good reason we wouldn't have them the way they are in the book? As it is we have cosmetic endcaps that look to have no prices on them. I can't imagine how some people push those endcaps like that or what customers must thing when they're shopping, but my concern is with no label holders I have nothing to hang my sign on. Do I grab an empty one and attach that just for the items on sale and remove the entire label holder when the sale is done? Before when the endcap went on sale we'd make a multi item 7x11 and put it in a stand holder and call it a day.

Another specialty fixture it mentions is the bulk shelved and unshelved endcaps. Typically for stuff like paper towels and soda which they used for their examples of each. It states for shelved bulk endcaps you use an 11x11 for promotion. The only problem we have with that is sometimes when those endcaps get pushed they're pushed quite full and trying to hang a 7x11 on the shelf in the middle usually means a broken 7x11 holder for your trouble. When such an endcap is pushed completely full am I to remove the offending piece of product to make room for the sign to hang down and not be basically folded in half? If so does that apply to our vendor soda endcaps? If so can I stack the soda higher than the middle shelf the sign is hanging from if there's nowhere else to put it? We don't backstock that so where else might it put it if I am to make room and it's that full?

It then tells you that for Fan Central you put the signs in the 7x11 peg sign holder towards the top of the gondola. Are there other areas where it's ok to put 7x11 peg sign holders that high on a panel? I ask because we have some specific locations in the store like the floor mat/rug aisle that doesn't have the normal standard shelves. It has what I guess I'd call baskets or rails that the floor mats sit in and those aren't made for 7x11 holders to clip on to.

In the section for Food signing it shows the meat bunker with red sign fixture similar to the ones on the top of sidecaps and check lane endcaps. Ours doesn't have that fixture. It says for S04 SuperTarget Stores only and while I have no idea what that means, I do know our store has a meat coffin with no fixture to hold the little letter flip books like our check lane endcaps do.

In the cooler/freezer endcap cases it says to use individual 3x5s which we actually were doing but there has been some confusion on whether to fold the flags on them. (I have been but some others have not) I believe this came about because of the problem with folding them in other glass cases in the store where the door was too close and it was hitting the signs when it was being slid open and closed. This doesn't apply here for 2 reasons. The doors swing out instead of sliding and even when closed they're farther away from the signs and not touching. Is it definitive that we should be folding them as I have been saying all along? (there's a picture in there that shows them all folded and even after seeing that people are being allowed to not fold them in that area.)

For our Bike signs it says not to place them on the rail but to insert them into the plastic pouches that hang from the handlebars. My question here is: Is there an easy way to scan a large number of items at once and have it make a batch for ONLY the items on promotion? What I mean is can I do something in my PDA so I can just scan every Bike one after the other without having to hit any extra buttons and then go and print signs for all the bikes that are now on sale? This would apply and save time for the select items on all those endcaps too. I'm praying this exists because using UPCS and adding each item one by one to my batches is soooooo time consuming. If it doesn't exist then Target needs to program that in there. Shouldn't be too hard. You only need it to ask you a question if there's multiple or overlapping promotions that apply to the product the same as when it asks if you want the TPC or Sale sign when you're adding them manually.

Continued below due to 10,000 character limit.
Lastly one rule we've always had at our store was that every endcap in Market had to have a 7x11 sign. Had to. If we missed even one we'd hear about it from one of the dayside execs. Now that doesn't seem to be enforced so strongly by the same dayside execs as there are always multiple signs missing in Market when we do our takedown on Saturdays. Sometimes just the 7x11 sign is missing but the holder and topper are in place. Other times the whole sign holder has been taken down. This seems to happen when they change the product on the endcap so are they just not printing new signs or is it no longer mandatory to have a 7x11 on every Market endcap. I'm curious if it ever was or if that was just something our store did because someone higher up wanted it that way. There are other extra things our store does that aren't required by Target so it's possible this was one of them.

In summation......Holy Crap that was a lot. Just going over all those questions I have has me thoroughly dreading the next few months of learning all of this. The worst part is I'm only learning this so I can train someone else to do it and I can go back to hanging the regular signs. Thank you again for any help given. Even if you don't have all the answers please share what you know. Even partial information will be helpful to me. I'm sure there will be many things still confusing me, but that's where mysupport will come in I guess.
I am up to date on new signing stuff. In hl, expect more, pay less is not used anymore. The new is the low price promise or lpp signing. The label next to pog tells what to used on the header. The book is confusing to a point.
What is the question you have?
Ad setup or takedown?
Endcap signing? Out of 4 ft signs, use 3 ft signs & order more.
Ad setup audit? Should be once a week.
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Wow quick reply already. Thanks for answering one of my major questions Hardlinesmaster. So no EMPL in hardlines at all anymore huh? Makes things easier for me then. I tried to outline my questions in detail in the first post so to avoid rehashing everything I'll just give my more major ones. When you have an endcap with some items on sale the proper thing to do for ad setup is to make individuals for each item and leave the header LPP? Is there an easy way to scan multiple items back to back quickly and have a batch get made that only will print the sale signs? Do all Market endcaps require 7x11s regardless of promotion. Those are my more pressing questions out of the whole big post. Thanks in advance for any further help you provide.
Your best bet when only some of the items on the endcap are on sale is to make individuals for each item and leave the the header. If everything is on sale you can shot a multiple item 7X11 sign but I don't think that's what you are asking. Usually if you are shooting signs if something is on sale the system knows it is on sale and will print the sale sign automatically. You can use 3x5's on Market encaps, it's just annoying.
If you have 3 items out 12 items on sale for endcap. Use 3x5 & lpp header. If whole endcap is on sale, use price points & sale header. Rule of thumb, if there is a least 2 or more sale items on a endcap, use mult point 7 by 11 & sale topper. The real key to this, that tl's have get the sales planners done on time.
Other options, if you are not able to 7 by 11 due to e-support error, try using the "s" or store sign sometimes works.
Warning, if the 7 by 11 sign shows the sale price & description says "empl", then use 3 by 5 signs.(usually correct ones).
When in doubt, go to signing, use pog option, it will list all types of signs for that pog.
If that fails, go the signing station, hit option create, search signs. You can search everything by pog, dept, date & type. Multi choices there.
If that fails too, then do a manual sign under store sign batches.
I hope this helps.
I'm getting hung up on the rule of thumb you put there. You're telling me I can make a sale 7x11 sign and use the sale topper on an endcap that is mixed with some sale items and some regulars. The reference guide says otherwise. It clearly says for both Duel price point endcaps and multi price point end caps to sign items on promotion with 3x5 signs. It gives no exceptions. It even has a note that specifically spells out that Promotional headers and toppers can only be used when all items on the endcap are on promotion. That's the killer right there. Never mind the fact that our store is cruddy about getting the sale planners done on time too. Also I've tried the POG option many times and lately seem to get no records found on almost all the pogs I put in. Then on the few that do pop up a list it only allows me to add the individuals to the batch. No 7x11s. The signing station option sounds like it'd be great but only if the endcaps were actual pogs and not generic labels for random products that are only a part of one pog and that one pog is tied in the middle of an aisle among other product not on the endcap. Just seems like to do it Targets way I have to do it the longer harder way.

To commiecorvus you said I can use 3x5s in Market, it's just annoying. I'm not sure if that means I don't have to use the 3x5s there. I'd prefer to use 7x11 multis like we have been but this evil evil guide doesn't support that. I also am unclear on when you said the system knows what's on sale and will print the sign automatically. Do you mean it will print them and send them in the bundles for the whole store? If you do then yeah I knew that one because I'm the only guy who does the ad prep at our store. Problem there is so few signs are fully labeled with endcap locations and even fewer are unlabeled but still tied there for me to label and save printing myself. It seems the biggest problem I'm facing is the fact that so many of our endcaps aren't actual pogs but just mishmashed combos of generic labels printed up to fill an endcap with product. Even if that endcap stays the same for weeks on end it's still never a tied POG. That's been like that for awhile. Even when I first started you could rarely scan an item to find out that it was actually on an endcap. You just had to check all the endcaps and remember what was where if you were pushing and when things changed over.

Again thanks to you both for your attention and help. Sorry if I come across as difficult but I just want to make sure I know the proper brand most accurate way the company wants things done even if my higher ups want them done differently. Even if the way my higher ups want is better, faster and easier. I know my store too well so if I'm going to do this even short term until I train someone else on it I will tell the person the right way. Then I will leave it up to them and my TLs and ETLs to do it differently. Not going to ever let them say I was doing something wrong later even if they gave their permission at the time.
Do the best you can do. Don't sweat the details. The etl's will get on tl about sp's. Sign what you can. My stl doesn't want 3 x 5 on endcaps unless there is no other choice. On generic labels, ck under Nop & see if it's a new planner coming up. Relax, wait till you see the new sign tracking report. Follow best practice on signing.
Also, ck your no locations for missing signs too.
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Try not to over think it too much chances are the signs will get knocked off the next day anyway. ;)
Yeah ain't that the truth :( I guess I will have to relax a bit about it and not be so uptight about every little detail being exact. I'll get with my execs on how they want certain things handled and just have to make it clear that I'll train the person to do it how they want it and that they'll be responsible if that's not brand. Just in case we get inspected or whatever and it's something that hurts us. Appreciate all the help and time guys.
Always put up lpp's on non sale endcaps.
Now for the scary part, the sign tracking report can be found on workbench/salesfloor/signing. It will how well you are doing on the ad. It's goes into detail on the ad prep & setup. It tells you who & how well the scanning up of signs before 8am by numbers. It is suggested to review this. There is alot of gray area on the changes in best practice.
Good luck!
Wow there is alot of informationt to sort through... but I'll help with what i can!

First of all, OLPP replaced EMPL and is now the generic signing where available (obviously not available for things like sidecaps, checklanes etc...) and should be used everywhere EMPL was in the past. The only difference between them is that (assuming nothing is on promo), dual price point OLPP endcaps need a multi 7x11 while single and greater than 3 do not!

You can only do a 7x11 promo and flip the headers if EVERYTHING in that section or endcap is on sale/promotion... If there is anything not on promotion then the 7x11 can't be used and the header must stay as OLPP... in which case 3x5s or 3x2s will need to be made for the items that are on sale...

Endcap audits do not require you to scan every single item under UPCS, because that would be a waste of payroll... You can either use the POG function like described or just scan a few items under UPCS and see if anything pops up, 95% of the time an endcap will ALL be on sale or not at all (not much in between, and if there is the chances of the sign missing are slim)...

It sounds like your SFTLs are flexing alot of make shift endcaps... which are the ones you would want to scan under UPCS alittle more than the actual SPLs because they obviously do not have batched signs at all (so checking all wouldn't hurt)... Your SFTLs shouldn't have that many fake endcaps anyway, and it tells me there is a bigger issue within your store if it is a consistent problem! I would use the right header when possible (3 and 4 foot ones in their respective endcaps).

Finally I can't speak to the specialty fixtures that much, I am more visual and need to see them, but I am assuming you need to trust your gut and go with what you think looks best to get the signs up! Oh and the best way to make a large amount of signs quick for an aisle is to use SIGNT - 3) Audit - Enter your aisle number, scan the signs that ARE up and then it will batch all the ones that aren't up to print out quickly...

Hope that helps!
these guys covered your questions well, here's a sneak peak into what my store does...

LPP has completely replace EMPL, except sidecaps, savor.

find out your DTLs preference for your endcaps. ours wants us to shoot 7x11s if the majority is on sale and it isn't confusing to the guest, even if there are 1 or 2items that aren't on sale. i'm very "by the book", so if there are questions i whip out the signing guide and say "this is best practice, not best preference."

we scan our signs in, when we get down to the last couple of batches, we wave through them together. we start in market, then go to other areas based on whatever is heaviest. when the person we left scanning finishes the last batch, she starts on 7x11s. after we finish an area, we call it out to the lod, and the lod has a printed copy of the ad by area (from workbench) with a line listing of whats needed. if he audits and sees something missing, he makes a note on the paper. once we're all done, we get the list from him and fix those. then we have 1 person in a/b, c/d, e/f/g, etc. do a quick endcap audit. if your team is signing the endcaps as they are built, your audit will be quicker and you won't have so many to scan. i usually use upcs and toggle over to the sign function as i go. i used the "pog" function to begin with, but it often generates signing for future weeks. we have a little tote stocked with numbers, flips, sign holders to keep from running back and forth.

bulk endcaps in paper get 7x11s. just flip one of the product on the back side up and front everything close to the edge. your sign wont get crushed and it will look the same as the others. we do not use 7x11 on our bulk soda endcaps even it we utilize an additional shelf because it falls onto guests. the exception is where there is a special buy one get one type of promotion. rule of thumb, always hang your 7x11s eye level, unless the type of product would cause it to fall, like in clothing or backpacks.

freezer signs should be folded. i know a lot of etls who insist that they should not because the guest cant see the flag portion to get their attention. however, leaving them unfolded gets messy in areas with multiple dpcis and IT BLOCKS AIR FLOW. two inch gaps between shelving is the rule of thumb for cooler air flow. i really hate they have not come up with a better idea for the coolers. i like the hanging large flags that attached to the top of the doors. too bad whoever designed them didn't think about having a piece of plastic breaking the connection of the door seal that keeps things cool. silly signers.

for the bike aisle, just drop a pog sign batch. #4 signing, #1 create signs, under type "P" (pog). scan the pog label. it'll ask which ones you want to batch.

it's never mandatory to have a 7x11 on the market/whatever endcaps. sign them by the book. anything else is something your store created. however, 99% of the time, all your endcaps in market should be sale/tpc. same in pets and paper, so it's always good to audit these areas even if you can't get an endcap audit done on the rest of the store.

hope this helped. good luck!
OLPP is currently being used on several of our frontlane endcaps, usually on items that have gone off sale/TPC but are still selling well (and in place of planners that don't yet have sufficient OH).
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